It forces me to listen to all the music I listened to in high school. Okay, forces might be a little strong. But when I signed up, I was not a Grooveshark user, so I assumed that I would use this cosmopolitan power for good and not evil, i.e. finding new, sexy indie music that would make my friends kneel before my speakers. Unfortunately, I had to recalibrate that plan once I realized they had over 10 hours of the Lord of the Rings soundtrack and all of Linkin Park’s live albums. Additionally, this makes me extremely hyperconscious about the music I am playing; as a perpetual earphone loser, I play a lot of music “into the air” and I fear that if I play the Tron: Legacy soundtrack one more time, my coworkers might strangle me.
Ads. Usually, this is the least creative complaint anyone could have about a web service, but Spotify’s ads are extra egregious. For one thing, they are randomly interspersed between songs you want to hear, which just seems like bad marketing. If I’m in the middle of an album I like, there is no way I am going to click out of it just to listen to the latest 13-year-old’s rehearsed-extensively-during-study-hall album vomited up by the Disney Channel. Secondly, if you turn Spotify’s volume slider all the way down, the ad waits for you to turn it back up, like an ugly puppy following you on your way home from school.
I can’t send full playlists to people over Spotify. Only songs. I like making playlists for my friends. It is the perfect way to force your music interests upon those you love: by disguising it as a gift, they are forced to listen to it to validate your (minimal) effort. “Here,” you say, “I know you only listen to the classical station on NPR when you’re in the car, but I was in the middle of a 15-hour dubstep marathon and I think you really might like Bassnectar.” The playlist problem on Spotify was discovered when I tried to send Heidi Schatz four hours of Kenny G. Did you know that not counting singles and collaborations, Spotify has 13 full hours of Kenny G?
There is no feature to add music. This seems like a no-brainer to me. Maybe America’s music culture as a whole is too fractured to allow for a full music addition “from above,” but it seems like given enough server space, the service’s quality could only get better, especially for members of a significantly active music community. If this service becomes ubiquitous, it could certainly only help up-and-coming musicians who don’t have the means to spread themselves as far as they like. I would love to be able to have a streamlined way to share my favorite local artists with my friends elsewhere—without sending them to the armpit of the Internet that is known as YouTube.
– Tim Normandt doesn’t know how to send out Spotify invites